On Friday, Iran said that it is eager to begin work to take a step further to scale back its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal, said Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported. ISNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying, “Foreign Minister (Mohammad Javad) Zarif, in a letter to EU policy chief (Federica Mogherini) announced that Iran has lifted all limitations on its Research and Development (R&D) activities.” 

Tehran can continue to execute limited enrichment Research and Development without gathering enriched uranium, under the deal. The nuclear deal of 2015 signed between Iran and six other countries, reached under former U.S. President Barack Obama, restricted Iran’s nuclear work in exchange for the lifting of most sanctions in 2016. 

The United States left the treaty last year and has reimposed sanctions on Iran. Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian President ordered the removal of all limits on nuclear research and development which is being considered as the third important step to scale down commitments to the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.

Rouhani declared on state television late on Wednesday, “I, as of now, announced the third step,” as the US announced that it was imposing sanctions against an oil-shipping network with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“The atomic energy organization [of Iran] is ordered to immediately start whatever is needed in the field of research and development, and abandon all the commitments that were in place regarding research and development.”

The nuclear deal which gave sanctions relief in exchange for accepting curbs on its nuclear program was agreed on by the US, United Kingdom, Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the European Union.

In May 2018 after the US unliterally withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions in a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, Tehran declared it wants to save the pact but the leftover signatories – especially Europe – must provide additional financial support.

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari said the latest action indicates that Iran was serious about not staying in the deal themselves. “The Iranians are reducing their commitments to try and force Europeans to come to some kind of an agreement to move forward and see the economic benefits they have been promised,” she added.

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